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Old 02-18-2008, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Earth
1,471 posts, read 3,905,172 times
Reputation: 908

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I've been dealing with a contractor since LAST April to build me a new detached 400sq ft garage.

Here it is Feb 2008 and while I have a dried-in building with power, it's not done, and I've paid up for everything remaining...siding, flatwork, french drain, and a ceiling/attic space. The final payment was made before Christmas on his good word that he'd have me done in January. Now January has slipped to February. With sketchy weather, I've had to drag tarps around to keep my soil from getting wet/muddy in anticipation of concrete work. Needless to say it's so close to being done, the guy has my money, and yet has not produced a schedule and commit date for when it is to be done. Just empty promises delivered by text message, and when I confront him on the phone about what I perceive as lack of commitment to my job, it degrades into a shouting match.

As the contractor (permit is in MY name), am I within my rights to fire this person and reclaim money paid for services and materials undelivered, and find somebody else? My thoughts are to offer him 3 options:

a) give me what I've paid for within 30 days
b) give me my money back for materials & labor undelivered
c) fail to do either and I put a lien on his property, file a BBB complaint, and possibly go to small claims court

Am I out of luck or do I have some leverage to do something here?
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 11,294,481 times
Reputation: 1132
Is he licensed and bonded? Find his licensing board and report him. He has your money, so you have a good claim in court, especially if you have a written contract.
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Earth
1,471 posts, read 3,905,172 times
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That's the rub...he's not licensed in my city. He lives about 40mi away. Our 'contract' is more like an evolving draw schedule with payments I've made...so it's more like an evolving 'invoice' than a written contract with legal terms. I'm going on the premise here that it's taken this guy almost 1yr to build a very simple garage.
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Old 02-18-2008, 09:10 PM
 
24,839 posts, read 35,076,368 times
Reputation: 11513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuffler View Post
That's the rub...he's not licensed in my city. He lives about 40mi away. Our 'contract' is more like an evolving draw schedule with payments I've made...so it's more like an evolving 'invoice' than a written contract with legal terms. I'm going on the premise here that it's taken this guy almost 1yr to build a very simple garage.
That type of license is generally a state license.
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Old 02-19-2008, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
15,500 posts, read 57,952,466 times
Reputation: 19397
You got duped!
You don't have a "contract", and your only recourse is small claims court.
You may win- but getting your money back is a whole other issue.
If, and when you hire someone else, make sure you have a contract, a timeline for completion, and a payment schedule based on the work to be completed along with a retainer of about $1500.00 due at the completion of the punch list.
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Earth
1,471 posts, read 3,905,172 times
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I'm not 'duped', I'm just beholden to this jackoff's whimsical schedule. Was hoping I might have some leverage...perhaps I don't.
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Falling Waters, WV
1,502 posts, read 7,068,531 times
Reputation: 815
Since it sounds like your work is almost done, I think I would just play nice and tell him "I know that weather has been crappy blah..blah..blah, I was just wanting to know when you might get it done since there isn't much left".

Good Luck
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Old 02-19-2008, 05:51 PM
 
Location: Earth
1,471 posts, read 3,905,172 times
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This is what I get with the 'low bidder' on my project....a one-man show that is 8 months off schedule and $10k over budget (granted there were 'add ons' required by the City that were overlooked when my plans were approved...go figure!). Cooler heads prevail, I guess. I'm just tired of staring at dirt and Tyvek and getting worked up when the weather changes.
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Old 02-20-2008, 06:51 AM
 
9,124 posts, read 34,432,846 times
Reputation: 3605
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuffler View Post
I'm not 'duped', I'm just beholden to this jackoff's whimsical schedule. Was hoping I might have some leverage...perhaps I don't.
No, you got duped. You hired an unlicensed contractor, and he managed to convince you to pay him in full prior to being even close to finishing. And, he did that after already taking far longer than he should have to complete what little work he did complete. That's called being duped.

Most likely you can't go to small claims court because the amount is too high. You can't lien his property, since you don't have any rights to his property. If you take him to court, you'll likely prevail, but it'll cost you at least a few grand in legal fees, and he'll likely end up not paying anyway (he'll either close up his company if he's incorporated, or you'll just spend years trying to get the judgement satisfied).

You've got two choices- either be really, really nice to him, and maybe he'll eventually come back and finish your job (doubtful, since he likely spent your money on booze, dope, or child support back-payments), or toss him to the curb and pay someone else to finish (cheaper than going to court and getting nothing anyway).

Best of luck!
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Old 02-20-2008, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Earth
1,471 posts, read 3,905,172 times
Reputation: 908
The balance of remaining work is <$7500, which qualifies for small claims here in CO. Remaining work is siding and flatwork...granted the weather has been up and down, which doesn't help scheduling. We spoke last night and the plan is to be out next week, weather permitting. I'm pretty sure he smokes dope or is on some kind of medication...aren't they all?
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